Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Importance of Being Earnest

I was speaking at the SVB/Cendana Capital micro VC event earlier this week and made a few comments about how do you turn a fund down.  I made a joke about how I used to be a lawyer and was paid to say a lot without saying anything.  My point was (i) to be self-deprecating and drop a lawyer joke, (ii) and two to describe how I like to say no.  Which isn't to say a lot and not actually come to a conclusion.  I've written a lot about the lack of honesty in the LP community before as well as how to say No.  I love to speak publicly and hate it at the same time because I always tell the truth and I don't think most audience members expect to see that all the time.  As I've said before, I believe in a quick response after a call with a VC because I don't want to create any more anxiety for them than they already have in fundraising.  However, I don't like to send emails and say "this is not a fit" if I've taken their time and mine for an introductory call or meeting.  That's rude.  When I get an inbound request for an introductory meeting/call, I may send an email back saying this isn't a fit because there is no point in wasting anyone's time if I know there is no chance I could make a commitment (e.g., out of scope stage, strategy, or geography).  If we both have invested our own time and anxiety into having a discussion about our life's work, I think that deserves careful consideration and a thoughtful response back.  Moreover, if I am passing for now on a fund, I want to lay out everything that I like for you and the things that gave me pause.  I've long said that LPs are wrong more often than they're right as we all don't invest in that many funds.  If that's the case, there are going to be so many funds that do well that we don't/can't invest in.  A quick and thoughtful No is the least worst No.  

No comments:

Post a Comment